LIFE IS A FLOWER

For research purposes I wanted to see what would pop up if I were to type a few specific words into Google…….FLORAL TEXTILE ARTISTS. Well, I am glad that I did!! I came across a wonderful webpage:

https://www.textileartist.org/textile-artists-inspired-by-flowers/

It was full with the most amazing Textile Designers, but the first that truly caught my eye was MELISSA ZEXTER.

‘Melissa Zexter combines embroidery with photography. She sews by hand directly onto photographs she has taken, combining a traditional practical skill, embroidery with a modern and mass reproducible process, photography’

Zexter, M. (2013-15) Portraits, Woman With Veil. Digital Print, Thread. Available at: http://www.melissazexter.com/new-colour (Accessed: 10 April 2018)

What once was a standard digital print has been made new and unique by the addition of thread. The image is now alive and describes something now beautiful; a simplistic addition to an existing story to create intrigue and dynamism. Could I now reinvigorate some of my old photographs with the addition of specifically chosen thread?

Dexter, M.  (2017) Embroidered Portraits, Schoolgirls. Gelatin Silver Print, Thread. Available at: http://www.melissazexter.com/embroidered-portraits (Accessed 10 April 2018)

SUSAN BRUBAKER KNAPP

Susan is not only a fiver artist, but a teacher and author too. She has been making quilts since she was 10 years old and has honed her skill over a lifetime to produce some of the most incredible finer art quilted artworks I have ever seen. The attention to detail exudes tactility and luxury in each stitch she creates.

 

Brubaker Knapp, S. (2016) Resurrection, Free Machine Quilted, Cotton. Available at: http://www.bluemoonriver.com/fiber-art.html (Accessed 10 April 2018)

Brubaker Knapp, S. (2010) Passion Flower, Free Machine Quilted, Cotton. Available at: www.bluemoonriver.com/fiber-art.html (Accessed 10 April 2018)

Brusker Knapp, S. (2010) Pink Rose, Painted Wholecloth, Machine Quited, Cotton. Available at: www.bluemoonriver.com/fiber-art.html (Accessed 10 April 2018)

These artworks are so sumptuous!! I could image a full-size bedspread of this design and would happily pay whatever price was advertised.

Although I haven’t attempted much embroidery/stitch work within this project, seeing these incredible works of art has inspired me to explore the wonders of my Bernini and hand.

 

 

 

ASSESSMENT DAY

The day arrived, and the PD Boys had not finished the Light!!! Needles to say there was an unspoken air of stress and anxiety. How on earth would we finish the design in 1.5 hours, 10am being the deadline. Luckily, after asking Helen and Clara for an extension until 12:20pm (our dedicated assessment time), we had more time to complete this challenging project. The communication and co-operation of our group was at times quite poor, which in turn caused great stress, anxiety and friction between group members. I took it upon myself quite early on to step up to become the chairperson of the group; a glue holding everything together. I think that if it were not for my age, communicative and project management skills, we would have ultimately failed this project. However, failure is not an option for me, so I put 100% of my expertise and know-how into this project.

PRESENTATION WALL

Before creating the Presentation Wall, I decided to do a little research on the Internet and came across a wonderful site detailing the importance of presenting Art:

armandlee.com/art-presentation-walls-meaning/

‘Art presentation, like other artistic expression, has become more experimental, more conceptual, more varied and more personal. Interior design has evolved to meet the emotional and intellectual needs of more educated and worldly clients by challenging convention in the use of space, materials, scale, color and texture. Personal and public spaces, like everything else, are becoming more interactive. Even traditional environments are filled with eclectic collections from family legacies, world travels and expressions of personal interest.

As an integral part of interior design, art presentation must work on three dimensions: respecting the art, accessorizing the setting and reflecting the importance of the art to the owner. Of these three, how the owner feels about the art is the driving force. Custom art presentation, which effectively balances all these considerations, requires an almost infinite assortment of profiles, finishes and design details.’

I worked tirelessly, with the help of Saima, to create a Presentation Wall worthy of my own high standards. Picture frames and black card were utilised to professionally mount samples, market research, CAD drawings and our Target Market, including the typical buyer and the enthusiast. Wallpaper had been attached with velcro to the board; grey had been chosen purposefully (with a little sparkle too) to pull together both the black and white frames.

I did not want to include a ‘traditional’ colour palette, but rather an explosion of colour in the form of remnant thread and yarns. These remnants were specifically incorporated together in 5 X 5″ Cellophane wrappers, thus allowing the buyer to be able to see how the colours would work together. The great thing about this concept? The buyer can choose/pick their own remnant thread/yarn and place it in an individual 5 X 5″ cellophane wrapper, giving them the power to create their own art piece.

The 5 words chosen to inspire the work of Saima and I specifically were:

VIBRANT, EXPRESSIVE, TEXTURAL, LINEAR & PATTERNED. Mood boards were created for each word, allowing the creative process to begin. It was a wonderful way for us to tie in vocabulary within a creative context, not to mention giving us inspiration from many different sources other than Hockney’s Mulholland Drive.

The group agreed that the wall should incorporate many different ideas, materials and samples:

PRINT, STITCH, WEAVE, CAD, HAND-DRAWN RENDERINGS, WIREWORK, PHOTOGRAPHY.

On a whole, I thought the Presentation Wall worked in conjunction with the Light incredibly well. The amount of compliments we had from other groups and staff was affirming.

The deadline was met!!! Yes, there were issues that we needed to address, namely the finish of the spray-paint and the top, but these were allowed to be rectified the next day…THANK YOU CLARA.

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Really proud of our Light!!!

Our Assessment went fantastically. We were all totally surprised at the positive feedback, thinking we would would be torn apart for lack of attention to detail, time management and finish. Positives from the assessment:

  1. HIT THE NAIL RIGHT ON THE HEAD WITH OUR TARGET MARKET
  2. PERFECT CHOICE OF RETAILER TO ADVERTISE, STOCK & SELL OUR PRODUCT
  3. EXCELLENT IDEA FOR BESPOKE SERVICE
  4. AVAILABLE AS ONE OF A KIND LIGHTING SOLUTION
  5. DESIGN POSSIBILITY IS ENDLESS – COULD CROSS INTO MANY DIFFERENT TARGET MARKETS I.E HIGH END STORES, CHILDREN’S MARKET, CORPORATE MARKET ETC.
  6. HIGH END DESIGN
  7. STYLISED, BUT INCORPORATED THE CORE VALUES/COLOUR SCHEME OF MULHOLLAND DRIVE
  8. PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATION/PRESENTATION WALL
  9. EXTENSIVE RESEARCH INTO LIGHTING MARKET, ESPECIALLY SHAPE AND DESIGN
  10. CREATIVE JUXTAPOSITION OF PRODUCT DESIGN AND TEXTILE DESIGN IDEAS
  11. STRONG PROJECT MANAGEMENT…ME
  12. THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX FOR DESIGN IDEAS

I actually cannot believe the project is now finished. If I am honest, I was not used to working with other people from such a different creative approach, but now understand that to create a truly successful collaborative project, there needs to be better time management and a closer connection of ideas and concepts. That is not to say I would not welcome another collaborative project, but not quite just yet. In future group work, on the course and in other endeavours, I think it vitally important to set individual tasks for members of the group, looking at their strengths.

AND…….BREATHE.

CREATING/APPLYING THE SURFACE PATTERN

The Muslin was cut to length and width, 750mm x 290mm, and I began by printing the individual elements (Mine and Saima’s) out via my EPSON PHOTO STYLUS XP-620, making sure that I followed the specific printer guidelines set by EPSON. The next step involved the meticulous cropping and guillotine the strips and blocks; steps were cut into 2 widths….1.5CM & 0.75CM. The two sizes were able to compliment the blocks and frame the purposeful discrepancies of the design as a whole.

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It was extremely important to create a basic structure of pattern, otherwise the overall effect would look odd; each strip and block were juxtaposed to a specific brief.

Once placed in the specific order the strips and blocks were each, one by one, fixed and iron on individually; the three banners taking 8 hours to finish!!! The iron had to be on it’s hottest setting to allow the image transfer to complete successfully.

It was worth it in the end though. You get out what you put in!!

I just needed to wait an hour or so, then I could iron the banners flat before including in the final design.

I was going to embellish the geometric blocks with a satin stitch border, but I just ran out of time. The idea was to create a ‘ladder’ between the black blocks of the base and top; a metaphor for the journey of Hockney between his home and studio in L.A. I had even toyed with the idea of using a black marker to finish this idea, but thought that I would not be happy with the final solution. On this occasion it would be something I would incorporate next time.

 

FINALISING IDEAS & CONCEPT

My LIGHT BOX finally arrived!!! Was getting extremely worried that it would not arrive in time; needless to say there was plenty of anxiety,bumble puckering and sleepless nights.

Saima and I had met up to discuss the elements we would incorporate from MD into our Lighting Solution. As a group we decided to incorporate the most popular and favourite elements of the designs of Saima and I:

SAIMA: COLOURED AND PATTERNED STRIPS INSPIRED FROM THE PAINTING & PATTERNED STITCH

VAUGHAN: GEOMETRIC SHAPES AND PATTERNS INSPIRED FROM THE URBAN SPRAWL

 

Unfortunately I dropped my iPad down the stairs last night, so I am unable to upload images of the finalisation of my research.

The Light Box has allowed me to choose the final material choice for all 3 banners. Initially I thought that a Cotton Organdie would be the favoured material, but once I explored the diffusion quality of a Muslin, I thought that the colours ‘popped’ even further. I think the contrast against the translucent white allowed the design to truly sing, I just hope it works out as a whole design.

Just when I thought that the Muslin was the preferable choice, I placed my screen-printed geometric prints onto the Light Box…..and….the white cotton allowed a wonderfully vibrant light through, especially the printed colours. However, after experimenting with stitch and a Wing Needle, I found that the fabric puckered badly with the embellishment of any type of stitch/needlework.

I have tried to photograph these fabric experiments, but unfortunately the camera picks up unsightly black lines, hence why I am unable to upload any images.

The PD Boys had initially told me that they had wanted to utilise a Grey Gloss Spray-paint to finish the wooden structure of the light, but I totally disagreed with this!! It needed to be black, which in turn would contrast the vibrant and expressive colours found within the designs of Samia and I. Luckily, I bought the spray-paint, so they had no other choice….hahaha.

As a group, we agreed that the banners should measure 730mm (Length) X 290mm (Width), which would be attached to the top of each pane of acrylic ‘glass’ by a special invisible bonding glue. It was my job to measure out these banners and arrange them ready for the ‘appliqué’ of cropped blocks of the geometric patterns/shapes of my design, and the organic fluid strips of Saima’s design.

DISASTER!! The screen print squares that I had spent 4 hours creating, now lost all vibrancy against my Light Box!!!! I knew that this would ruin the aesthetic of the overall design!!! However, all was not lost!! I had some old EPSON IRON-ON TRANSFER PAPER in my goody box, so decided to adhere (print) that onto the Muslin Shrunk Sanforised fabric. The transfer paper needed a hot heat from an Iron to transfer the image onto the fabric; the result was fantastic, and also gave an added righty to the Muslin, which was an added bonus. I had my solution, now it was time to put all these final design ideas together.

 

 

 

 

DECONSTRUCT AND RECONSTRUCT: OFFCUT ART

What better to create my own individual samples incorporating offcuts of thread and yarn, contained within 5″x 5″ Cellophane Card plastic wrappers. It’s amazing what rummaging through an old box, full of items you never thought you would ever use again, can bear!! These little cellophane wrappers would allow a perfect ‘window’ against a backdrop of light. not only that, I wonder how the light would intensify the colour. Would the thread and yarn act as a barrier? Would this create fantastic silhouettes, or would the light permeate their structure to create amazing patterns and vibrant colour?

Each little ‘wrapper’, even though the idea is stylised, is inspired directly from individual sections found within the whole of Mulholland Drive. The size of thread and yarn, colour and pattern were all meticulously chosen to represent my elements of this amazing painting.

I will attempt to experiment with the adherence of one of these designs to a translucent fabric such as Cotton Organdie. My Light Box will act as the light source for my final design.

 

WORKSHOP: WIREWORK

Second workshop of the Spring Term: WIREWORK.

Having previously had a little experience with using wire before, I knew that I would enjoy this session immensely.

The tutor gave us varying lengths/thickness of wire and suggested taking inspiration from a design or pattern that we were currently working on; I thought it prudent to create a patterned shape inspired from a paper stencil to that of a wire structure.

 

Specifically shaped blocks (circles, squares, rectangles and parallelograms) were used as a template to mould the wire around, thus giving beautifully sculpted lines, avoiding kinks and unsightly bends.

SPOT

Once the desired shape had been obtained, Martin demonstrated how to use the Spot Welder. It was very easy to use and I thoroughly enjoyed the speed of welding/bonding the two ends together.

Martyn informed us to draw the size of specific components of our chosen design on a piece of paper, and use as a template to measure for additional shapes and patterns necessary to finalise the design. An important part of this process was making sure that the wire being used was made to be as flat as possible, which I made possible by eye co-ordination and a wire clamp; looking and pressure.

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To create the tighter curvature within the wire a 1″ (Diameter) metal pipe was used as a template to mould the wire around.

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When all the spot welding was complete, my job now was to remove the wire extrusions using the wire clipper/cutter. A metal file was finally used to remove any sharp protruding areas of the wire. The finished design replicated perfectly what I had undertaken within my paper stencil design.

I will endeavour to finish the design with a mixture of Silver and Copper Plasticoat. Thereupon, I wonder how this pattern/shape would be interpreted when used in conjunction with Cyanotype printing? Would the patterns created via different exposures create a new and expressive surface pattern? An e-mail to Mal bennett will ensue.

COLLABORATION: Fine Tuning Ideas and Concepts

Sometimes too many chefs can spoil the soup. However, on this occasion this was not the case.

Jack, Jamie, Morgan and I spent the day discussing best practice, ways to improve the model, ideas to enhance the design and conceptualising the overall finish, not only of the Light, but of the Presentation Wall, material portfolio and the working Textile sample sketchbook.

Having never used CAD before, Jack and Jamie showcased their design to me, needless to say I was blown away by the advances of this software; 3-D viewpoints and a ‘blown-up’ diagram allowed me to view the component parts, allowing a step-by-step instruction for construction.

Our group tutorial with Clara @ 12:20 pm brought about an invaluable group crit on areas in which we were strong, and areas which we really needed to address. The design element was found to be strong, but she did pick up on the fact that the  Product Design boys had not yet made a physical model. Luckily they informed her that this would be tackled today and would be experimented with size and material.

Yes, we came across a few production issues:

  1. Unsightly joining edges when adhering glue to Acrylic
  2. Size of Acrylic sheets
  3. Finish of top and base
  4. Lighting structure in/around light
  5. How to install a transformer/dimming switch
  6. Cost of materials
  7. Size of structure
  8. How to incorporate the Surface Pattern
  9. Creating the Presentation Wall

This is how we addressed these issues:

  1. The joining of acrylic will me solved by the addition of wooden/metal cornering
  2. I have managed to find the acrylic in the size we require from Acrylic World, an online store
  3. The top and base will now be either wood or brushed steel (Product boys will find solution)
  4. The lighting will utilise LED strips mounted on a triangle ‘support’ central to the structure
  5. A dimming transformer cable will be sat in the base and a dimmable remote control will allow ambience from around the room
  6. The cost of materials will be added up and divided by the 5 of us in this group
  7. The size of the structure will be 1200mm (H) x 350mm (W)
  8. The Surface Pattern will be in the form of a print and stitch embroidered ‘triptych’, being showcased within 2 sheets of acrylic (keeping the fabric clean and dust free)
  9. The Presentation wall is a secret and will be demonstrated on the day : )

My task for the day? To secure each and everyones favourite aspect of the Surface Pattern element, and to set to work to make it a reality.